Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Whaddya mean you don't know Canaille?

Canaille's widely slept-on Practical Men album is one of the best Toronto jazz recordings you've never heard.  
Formed by saxophonist Jeremy Strachan (Minotaurs, Muskox, Feuermusik), Canaille is one of many intriguing projects to come out of Toronto’s underexposed experimental music scene which never really got it's due.

Following the release of 2009’s all acoustic Potential Things, Canaille grew into an electric sextet with a sonic conception rooted in Bitches Brew-era Miles Davis mixed with a healthy dose of vintage ethio-funk of Mulatu Astatke and topped with the bent melodic sense of late 1950s Sun Ra. In fact, the group's amazing second full-length Practical Men – recorded & engineered by Jeff McMurrich and released by Komino Records in 2011 – came neatly bookended by two Akestra classics, "Watusa" and "Love In Outer Space."

Featured on the Practical Men album along with Jeremy Strachan (bari/alto/flute/guitar) is Jay Hay (tenor), Nicolas Buligan (trumpet), Jesse Levine (keyboards), Mike Smith (bass) and Dan Gaucher (drums) who together knocked out what sounds like a lost private-press spiritual jazz masterwork from the mid-70s. Fans of contemporary artists drawing on similar inspiration such as The Heliocentrics, El Michels Affair, Yesterdays New QuintetWhitfield Brothers, Atlantis Jazz Ensemble, Karl Hector & The Malcouns will be pleasantly surprised by Canaille's unjustly overlooked gem. Have a listen below.

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